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Hungry Wolves pip Mavs to avoid NBA West finals sweep

Karl-Anthony Towns has scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half as Minnesota held off Dallas 105-100 to avoid a sweep in the NBA Western Conference finals.

Anthony Edwards had 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists as the Timberwolves stayed alive in their first trip to the conference finals in 20 years, and just the second in the franchise's 35 seasons.

"He got himself going by going to the hoop," coach Chris Finch said of Towns.

"Played quick off the catch, stayed confident. He didn't really look much for his three until the second half. He just had his feet set. He was ready. And they were huge."

Now third-seeded Minnesota head home for Game 5 on Thursday (Friday AEST) to see if they can make the series even more interesting against the No.5-seeded Mavericks.

"Being aggressive (was the key)," Towns said after the game.

"Ain't no time to have any doubts in your mind, especially at this time, it's Game 4, down 3-0. Ain't no time to have any doubts."

Luka Doncic had 28 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists in his sixth triple-double of these playoffs, but he and co-star Kyrie Irving were just 13-of-39 from the field.

Irving, who was 14-0 in his career in close-out games coming in, finished with 16 points.

Luka Doncic (77) shoots against Minnesota's Anthony Edwards.
Mavericks guard Luka Doncic shoots against Minnesota star Anthony Edwards. (AP PHOTO)

"That game's on me, just didn't give enough energy," said Doncic, who was 7-of-21 from the field, including 1-of-5 in the fourth when he and Irving had combined as closers to build the 3-0 series lead.

"They won one game. We've just got to focus on the next one."

The Wolves have led in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter of every game in the series, and this time they finished.

Towns, who picked up his fifth foul midway through the third term, put the visitors ahead for good on a three-pointer with 5:41 remaining, then hit another from deep the next time down.

Edwards put Minnesota up by five with a jumper just inside the arc with 39 seconds left, and they hung on despite Edwards fouling Doncic on a made triple for a three-point deficit with 12 seconds to go.

Doncic missed the free throw, and Naz Reid hit a bucket to push the margin back to five with 11 seconds remaining.

"We weathered a lot of foul trouble out there, which was frustrating to say the least," Finch said.

"Credit to our guys. They found a way to win the game. It was a lot like Games 1 and 2, and we were able to get it done tonight."

The Wolves avoided being the 16th team out of 21 to get swept after losing the first three games of a series that started at home. Now they'll try to be just the fourth to force at least six games.

Mike Conley scored 14 points for Minnesota, and Rudy Gobert had 13 points and 10 rebounds.